TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Report
The MLS community was abuzz Thursday night after a report from Cincinnati Soccer Talk that FC Cincinnati are nearing a deal for former Atlanta United star Pity Martinez, though it’s not clear if the Argentine playmaker will indeed come to the Queen City in a blockbuster move.
Simultaneously, there were separate reports from The Post Cincy and others both locally and in Brazil that FC Cincinnati would be acquiring 21-year-old Brazilian striker Brenner from Sao Paulo, only furthering the excitement.
FC Cincinnati would need to trade up for the No. 1 spot in the MLS Allocation Process, which is currently occupied by expansion side Austin FC, in order to sign Pity after he was sold by Atlanta to Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr FC this past September for a reported $18 million. FC Cincinnati are No. 14 in the allocation order.
The transfer frenzy took another turn Friday, as Martinez caught wind of the social media chatter and posted an Instagram story that somewhat quieted the original report. While playing for Al-Nassr, the 27-year-old has managed four goals and four assists in 21 matches.
Martinez originally came to Atlanta ahead of the 2019 season, arriving as a Designated Player from River Plate. With Martinez winning the 2018 South American Footballer of the Year and the Five Stripes coming off an MLS Cup title that same year, expectations were sky-high. He was brought in as a replacement to Miguel Almiron after the Paraguayan attacking midfielder was sold to Premier League side Newcastle United for a reported $27 million.
But there were mixed results, as Pity never quite seemed to gel with then-manager Frank de Boer. He finished his 39-game MLS stay with seven goals and 11 assists, helping Atlanta win a U.S. Open Cup and Campeones Cup in 2019, though he struggled to make a consistent impact, leading to an exit amid Atlanta’s 2020 downturn.
Despite his stops and starts with Atlanta, Pity would undoubtedly inject much-needed quality for FC Cincinnati in the final third. They scored a league-low 12 goals during the 2020 season and have finished bottom of the Eastern Conference standings during their first two MLS campaigns since joining as an expansion team. FC Cincinnati have averaged just over 0.75 goals per game in MLS.
There’s also the bigger picture, with FC Cincinnati slated to open their West End Stadium in 2021; they’ve previously been at the University of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium, where they spent their USL days. In a similar vein, D.C. United made a major splash in 2018 when opening Audi Field, signing English star Wayne Rooney as a statement of intent.